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The Cottage Cardington

The Cottage Christmas Eve 2010
The Cottage Christmas Eve 2010

The Cottage was listed by the former Ministry of Works in May 1952 as Grade II, of special interest. An external plaque gives the date the property was built as 1764. It was restored in 1916 by Samuel Whitbread. It is built of colour washed roughcast over a timber frame and has an old clay tiled roof.

We are fortunate that three surveys of the parish of Cardington from the late 18th century survive. The first of these was undertaken in 1782 by James Lilburne. He was the parish schoolmaster and later agent for Samuel Whitbread, who owned large estates in the parish and also the sole Enclosure Commissioner for the parish. He produced a list of all the inhabitants of the parish arranged by house and hamlet [P38/28/1]. This was published, with extensive analysis by County Archaeologist David Baker in 1973 as Bedfordshire Historical Record Society Volume 52.

Since publication a second list has been found [P38/28/2]. It carries revisions up to the year 1789. Sadly neither of these surveys includes a map. Finally, in 1794 Lilburne produced another survey [W2/6/1-3] and this one had a map with a key showing where each house was. One can use this to plot the houses of the previous surveys and this work was carried out by John Wood of Bedfordshire County Council’s Conservation Section in October 1982 [CRT130Cardington29].

The 1782 survey [P38/28/1/2] stated that the occupier was John Preston, a 48 year old labourer, born in the village, who died on 25th November 1788. His 45 year old wife Elizabeth, née Cox, had been born in Wilshamstead and kept a school. This was probably a Dame’s School at which children were taught the rudiments of reading and writing whilst learning handicrafts such as lace making which paid for their education. In 1794 [W2/6/1-3] the occupant was Ann Morgan.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. Cardington, like most of the county, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting The Cottage [DV1/C116/14] found it owned by the Whitbread Estate and occupied by Waldren who paid rent of £4/15/6 per half year. He commented: “Rent ridiculous”

Her accommodation comprised a dining room, a drawing room, a kitchen and three bedrooms. The valuer noted that there was no bathroom. He also commented: “Very nice property. Very lettable. Rent low” and “Very good”.